2012-11-15

Graphic booklet and CD-mysteries, part 2. (B-C)

So this is basically where I go through my own CD-collection and take some photos of stuff that I consider weird, ugly, beautiful or just has to be dissected in one way or the other. I will try to focus more on the actual booklets, because there are tons of lists out there with just ugly album covers (although that's certain come up here as well). In other words, there wont be any vinyl-albums discussed here, nor will there be anything from In Flames or Opeth, because I don't own albums by those bands. I will more or less go through CD's random and see if there's anything interesting to be said about them.
Be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Ok, so here we go again - time for B-C.
First off, I found "The Olden Domain" (1997) by Borknagar in my CD-collection. A damn good record, but my oh my is this a complete graphic wreck or what. From the horrendous background to the cryptic front and all the way to that damn gnarled tree on the cover, there's absolutely nothing beautiful whatsoever about this. I really think I needn't say more.
I also own this on a picture-disc and there's a reason it's not mounted on my living-room wall...
Furthermore, it's not like Borknagar's layouts or covers got any better by time either. "The Archaic Course" (1998) basically suffers from the same as the layout above, and when new drummer Asgeir Mickelsen took over the graphic duties, the band got stuck in an obscure millennium-graphic state of mind. The covers to "Quintessence" (2000) and "Empiricism" (2001) aren't exactly something I'd hang in my Christmas tree, if you get my point. Only on the latest releases "Universal" (2010) and "Urd" (2012) are we greeted with something decent.

And what's up with labels who obviously doesn't care shit about how the albums actually look like? I mean, here we have a classic band like Candlemass and it's a re-release of their iconic debut album "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" were talking about. You would even think that perhaps the label-people would put a little extra effort into what they do right? But no. They were obviously in a hurry when they did this re-design which resulted in the back of the album turned in the wrong direction.
Yeah, I know that this might not be a major issue, but for someone who is as anal as I am when it comes to my CD-collection, this is a unnecessary problem that easily could have been avoided. Now I have to put the album upside-down in my shelf. Annoying, and as I said; unnecessary.

Now it's time to actually do give some praise as I finally have something positive to say. You can say whatever you want about the music of Cradle of Filth and the midget that fronts the band, but they've always been very consistent when it comes to the layouts of their albums. At least when it comes to those albums ranging from their debut "The Principle of Evil Made Flesh" (1994) and all the way up to "Midian" (2000) which are the albums I own by the band. Below are some examples from "Vempire" and "Dusk and Her Embrace" (both 1996).
Sure, most photos of the band members are corny and almost embarresing in their own way, but I really adore the consistency and the effort that is always put into the booklets. From imagery to fonts and thank-you-lists - here we have some prime examples on how to work with design. And many of these were done before the new millennium mind you. And sure, you may not enjoy their overall imagery and/or hate their album covers, but that doesn't take away the effort that's been put into it. Kudos to the Filth!

I actually thought there would be more to dissect from the letters B to C in my collection, but there really wasn't. I couldn't find anything in particular to say about neither Bad Religion, Bay Laurel, Biohazard, Blodsrit, Bloodbath, Cathedral, Celestial Season, Clawfinger nor Cronian. But then I discovered something disturbing. Something I didn't even know what it was at first. Something so sinister, ugly and rotten that I've chosen to completely forget about it's existence...

I hereby give you Cult Disciples and their album "Hang by the Cross" (1997). It might be one of the worst albums I've ever heard and I am utterly ashamed to now, for the first time, acknowledge that I own this. In my defense, I actually got this as a "bonus" when I bought some album (can't remember which one, but I think it was something with Samael) from a guy online (from some Swedish equivalent to Ebay). Yeah, bonus my ass! This guy was very happy to be rid of this album for sure.
Anyway, it's a Swedish band, hailing from the same city where I currently live, and now, thankfully disbanded. Everything from the band name to the album title (sounds like a couple of guys hanging out by some cross and drinking beer) to some of the song titles ("The Hate I Have", ""Jesus Meets Pizzaman", "Cyberface", "Confronting Simon") reeks of horse-manure. The band obviously holds a certain King Diamond and Mercyful Fate as gods in their world (Borknagar-pun intended), but this is more like a fifth-rate kindergarten-band with juvenile lyrics and a musical performance that leaves a lot to be desired.
Sure the album cover is by far not the worst I've seen, but there's something that's very disturbing with the entire package. The font is some sort of faux-Old English (without caps though!) and the entire thing looks very homemade. As I open up the casing (for the second time in my life) my eyes are averted by the horror that lurks inside.
This is very 1997 to say the least. The font on the actual disc is hilarious but that's nothing compared to the inverted band photo with the poor emo-guy that hangs from... - wait for it - a cross! And what's the deal with the rectangular picture with the hands touching something that I suppose should look like a heart? But it inside that the real deal begins.
They stick to the same font everywhere on the booklet which is real headache-indulging to say the least. But what I really love is the fact that every member has it's own page with a photo, some "mystic and occult" symbol on each side of the photo and it's own headline and thank-you-list. Yeah, this sort of thing works when you're band is Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir and you actually have a lot of fans. But when it's your debut album (and they thankfully spared the world from more) and your fans probably consists of your friends and family members, it only looks ridiculous. This above is the main guy whose responsible for most of the "lyrics" and "music" and of course goes by the astonishing alias of Ritchie La Roux (oh, I wonder who his guitar-idol might be?).
Some of the members even have a "No thanks to-list" which is hilarious in it's own. That each member, except mr. Ritchie La Roux (haha, I cannot stop laughing at that name), looks like they might be 18 or 19 years old and have aliases such as Deomgorgon Bilé and Mephistopheles only adds to the unintentional humor. The band also recommends books "for great reading", which happens to be "The Satanic Bible" by Anton La Vey and "Book of the Law" by Aleister Crowley - wow what a surprise!
I should probably have added more photos from the booklet, but this is something that you actually have to have a physical copy and flip through it to understand the magnitude of it all. It feels like a print-out of a webpage that very well might have been online back in 1997. For that reason alone, I wont throw this album away. I will never, ever listen to it again though.
I now wish to end Part 2 with the very last quote from Cult Disciples' amazing booklet:

"No thanks to the false! Burzum, Dark Funeral, Marduk
And all of you who wanna be like them:
Fuck You !!!"

Fantastic! But I wonder why they chose these particular bands. One Norweigan and two Swedish black metal bands. Why not include Mayhem, Satyricon, Emperor or Darkthrone in the list? I am truly curious about this. But anyway, doo yourselves a favor and check out this band on Metal Archives.

1 comment:

  1. I like Empiricism artwork, but I'm agree about Universal and especially Urd have a better design.

    ReplyDelete